Part of the homecoming celebration at the University of Montana this weekend included a $1.5 million gift to the Davidson Honors College.
Nancy and Ian Davidson successfully developed the D.A. Davidson financial services and travel companies based in Great Falls. They’ve been supporting the honors college for more than 25 years, including the building that houses it and bears their name.
The Davidsons’ latest gift goes beyond bricks and mortar. Honors College Dean Brock Tessman says it will be used to to create two new, two-year faculty fellowships.
Tessman says, "(They are) what we’re calling teaching, research and mentoring fellows. These will be post-doctoral fellows from the world’s greatest PhD programs. They’ll teach a full load of courses, they’ll be research mentors, and they’ll be general advisors for our students."
Nancy Davidson says that the fellowship program, funded for six years, will reinforce the honor college’s mission to create a program of excellence at UM. To make sure that a "valedictorian from Victor, Montana does not need to go to a Harvard, a Yale or a Stanford or someplace to really be challenged to really meet their potential."
The Davidsons have also committed to match dollar-for-dollar other gifts to establish a third teaching, research and mentoring fellow. Their gift also establishes, for five years, a career development program to help the 700 students in the honors college find success after graduation.